Election day is coming up on August 6, 2020,
There will be State and Federal Primaries and County General Elections.

Check out the sample ballot.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020, is the final day to register to vote before election.
That's just one week away.

Absentee ballot requests must be received by July 30, 2020.

The rules have changed a bit for being eligible to vote with an absentee ballot.

Pursuant to the June 4, 2020 Order of the Davidson County Chancery Court, if you are a registered voter and do not wish to vote in-person due to the COVID-19 situation, you are eligible to request an absentee ballot by mail.

* I am hospitalized, ill or physically disabled and unable to appear at my polling place to vote; and/or I have determined it is impossible or unreasonable to vote in-person due to the COVID-19 situation.
* I am a caretaker of a hospitalized, ill or physically disabled person, and/or I have determined it is impossible or unreasonable to vote in-person due to the COVID-19 situation.

This year is important at all levels. Let's get out the vote.

Sat
Jun 27 2020
06:26:am

From the Maryville Daily Times:

A Maryville third grader tested positive for COVID-19 after a Monday, June 22, trip to Springbrook Pool with the Foothills Elementary School Adventure Club.

The student passed a Monday morning temperature check at the extended care program but was sent home when the midday check registered more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Maryville City Schools Director Mike Winstead.
...
“We did what our management plan and the Health Department says we should do,” Winstead said. The Health Department will be responsible for other contact tracing.
...
“When school reopens and we have 5,000 kids and 900 employees and all the interactions going on, having a positive case is inevitable,” Winstead said. “The key is just controlling interactions and minimizing the impact of a positive case.”

About a dozen other Adventure Club attendees will have to submit to a 14 day quarantine.

Sun
Jun 7 2020
08:51:am

The power went out about an hour ago.

Tried to call the City of Alcoa Utility Dept, their phones were out of service. Their online outage map was not updated. Tried to call the city's main number. It was out of service, too.

Out of curiosity, tried to call the Fire and Police departments. Their phones were also out of service.

Could be a flaw in their ability to serve the community.

According to tweets from Mark Nagi, Community Relations Officer with the Tennessee Department of Transportation:

On Saturday, June 13, Hunt Road will be closed at the Alcoa Highway overpass.

Motorists traveling in Blount County should be aware of the upcoming road closure that will have an affect on traffic in Alcoa over the next six months.

The existing Hunt Road bridge will be demolished and replaced by a new Hunt Road bridge over Alcoa Highway.

This roadway is expected to re-open to traffic in December 2020.

Signage is in place alerting motorists of the upcoming closure.

This detour map shows the new traffic pattern following those Hunt Road bridge demolition activities, and will be in place until December 2020.

Click image for bigger.

The existing bridge will be demolished during nighttime operations June 14-18.

Traffic will be detoured around the bridge demolition using existing interchange ramps. That detour will only be in place for the demolition activities.

The TN Dept of Transportation contractor will be closing the Hunt Road Bridge to traffic on the morning of Saturday, June 13, 2020. This closure will remain in place through Winter 2020 and will allow the contractor to construct the new Hunt Road bridge. During this closure, traffic will be detoured along State Routes.

For information on the Alcoa Highway road project you can visit this TN Dept of Transportation website.

You can contact Mark Nagi at the TN Dept. of Transportation if you have any questions.
Mark Nagi (media contact)
TDOT Region 1 Community Relations Officer
Phone: 865.594.0161
Email: Mark.Nagi@tn.gov

Mon
Apr 27 2020
08:20:pm

Driving around Alcoa and nearby this evening, it looked like O'Charlies, Aubrey's, Cheddars and Olive Garden were open. Calhoun's, Smokey Mt. Brewery, Applebees, Chili's, Cracker Barrel, Texas Roadhouse, and RJ's were closed, although some had curbside.

Topics:
Tue
Mar 31 2020
06:57:am

From TN Gov. Lee,
The CDC advises that "the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus," and the best way to avoid being exposed to the virus is to remain home except as necessary to engage in essential activities

All Tennesseans must do their part by staying at home whenever possible for a limited period of time to avoid exposure to, and slow the spread of, this virus, which will limit the burden on health care resources and allow normal activities to resume sooner

From the Daily Times, "The number of COVID-19 cases in Blount County has reached double digits, the Tennessee Department of Health reported Monday."

We need to step it up a bit.

Avoid crowds. This includes going to Lowes, Home Depot, Hobby Lobby, Target, etc. If you need to go, if it is essential, then try to go when there are less people, e.g. early in the morning and not on a weekend.

Stay 6-10 feet away from other people. This means anyone except for those who live in your household even if they are close friends, other family members, church members, etc.

Don't touch your face while out and about. Wash your hands frequently while out and about using wipes, hand sanitizer, alcohol.

Please protect yourselves, your family, your neighbors, the cashiers and workers at stores.


Cities Temporarily Alter Utility Policies Due to COVID-19

In anticipation of the growing hardship posed by the economic effects of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, City of Alcoa and City of Maryville electric, water and wastewater utilities suspended cut-offs and new late fees from March 25 until April 23.
...
Visit the websites at City of Alcoa and City of Maryville for more information. City of Alcoa customer service staff are available by phone at (865) 380-4700. City of Maryville customer service staff are available by phone at (865) 273-3456.

Wed
Mar 25 2020
09:36:am

The City of Alcoa Public Works & Engineering Department in conjunction with Waste Connections of Tennessee are working hard to continue to provide uninterrupted service as we navigate the COVID-19 impacts.

In order to minimize risks to our employees and customers we are only accepting garbage that is bagged and completely in the cart as well recycling that is only in the cart.

Please remember trash must be bagged for safety and placed in cart only; however, recycling may be placed loose in cart.

Tue
Mar 24 2020
03:39:pm


In light of the positive COVID-19 case for Blount County today, it is more important than ever for our citizens to continue to cooperate with all CDC recommendations. We want to come together as a community to ensure the health and safety of all of our citizens.

All households, all businesses and individuals alike need to take the recommended precautions and self-isolate, alter business processes where possible, and limit-in-person contact.

With increased testing taking place, we will see increased positive test results. The effort to slow the spread of this pandemic depends on each of us doing our part.

Gov. Lee has issued a statewide order "to temporarily limit social gatherings, move restaurant sales to takeout models for food and alcohol and also address the use of gyms."

Here's the executive order

Topics:
Thu
Mar 19 2020
05:30:pm

WVLT reports that a Clayton employee has tested positive. More info...

Tue
Mar 17 2020
08:53:am

Blount Intergovernmental Joint Information about COVID-19

The governments of Blount County, the cities of Maryville, Alcoa, Friendsville and Townsend, and the towns of Rockford and Louisville are monitoring the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak and are coordinating our efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus in our community. Public facilities including parks and recreation, schools, library, and government buildings are included in the mitigation protocol.?

COVID-19 Blount Intergovernmental Information
Public Information Related to Community Planning & Response to COVID-19

The governments of Blount County have compiled some important contact information on this joint information page. We will continue to provide important links to the agencies with the latest information.

Sat
Feb 29 2020
02:56:pm

Today's Daily Times front page headline declares "Alcoa commission votes to approve new industrial zone for Springbrook Farm."

Uh, no, it's not an industrial zone. They aren't planning manufacturing or other factory type businesses for the site. At least not that we know of.

What they did was establish a "Central Business Improvement Distict," or CBID. Under state law, this gives the city broad powers to develop the site and to issue bonds or assess (or forgive) taxes to pay for it.

The article mentions "TIFF ... or tax income financing arrangements." The correct term is TIF, or Tax Increment Financing. Under state law, this allows the city development board to borrow money on behalf of a developer to make improvements (like a hotel or a grocery store). The debt is paid back over many years from the difference (increment) in the property taxes before and after the improvement. Officials argue that the project wouldn't be feasible "but-for" the TIF, therefore the incremental revenue wouldn't have occurred otherwise.

It's like free money! For developers. Taxpayers ultimately pay for it in terms of deferred tax revenues. Plus, there's an associated increase in demand for city services (and debt) and taxes to pay for it are used to pay off the developer's debt instead.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. The "but-for" requirement makes otherwise economically challenged projects feasible and, in theory, enhance the community and, eventually, hopefully, generate new tax revenues.

The paper doesn't fully explain why this particular plot needs government/taxpayer financial aid to be economically feasible. What's under that concrete that has to be removed? All these complex plans and funding schemes seem like overkill just to dig up some concrete. In fact, who is paying for the infrastructure and environmental remediation already done at the site? Recent property tax increases probably had nothing to do with that. Right?

Anyway, this is a lot of complicated mumbo jumbo and the Daily Times doesn't feel it necessary to ask or explain. All you need to know is what the city officials tell their reporters, which the reporters duly transcribe. And what they tell reporters is that everything's fine. Trust us.

Oh, and their reporters are prone to throw in a little editorial opinion disguised as "news reporting." The article states without any attribution that "Springbrook Farm’s advance is significant for the city, a milestone in its future commercial hopes, fiscal plans and even its infrastructure strategies."

OK, then. Let's hope everything works out and the city isn't plunged further into debt and we don't have any more surprise property tax increases.

UPDATE: The online article headline was corrected, as was the spelling (but not the definition) of TIF.

Topics:
Fri
Feb 28 2020
10:22:am

An article in today's Maryville Daily Times about early voting says this:

Blount County residents who choose a Republican ballot will also vote for Tim Helton or Todd Orr for Blount County Property Assessor.

Those who vote on Democratic ballots may write in either of the candidates for property assessor.

This is wrong, misleading and could cause people's votes to not be counted.

Tennessee Code Annotated 2-8-113 (c) says "Any person trying to receive a party nomination by write-in ballots shall complete a notice requesting such person's ballots be counted in each county of the district no later than twelve o'clock (12:00) noon, prevailing time, fifty (50) days before the primary election."

According to the Blount County election office, neither candidate for property assessor has filed such notice for the Democratic primary. Therefore, any such write-in vote will not be counted, and the vote would be wasted. To vote for property assessor you must vote in the Republican primary.

UPDATE: The online version of the story has been changed to say "Those who vote on Democratic ballots may cast write in votes for property assessor. Those votes will be counted in the Democratic primary. They will not impact the totals in the GOP race between Orr and Helton."

Uh, no, the votes will still not be counted. Once again, the Daily Times can't get basic information right, and refuses to correct it. What is happening to this newspaper?

Tue
Feb 18 2020
07:42:am

As of the first three days of voting in the 2020 Presidential Primary, even though there are still more Republicans voting in Blount County, in 2020 as compared to 2016, Democrats have more than doubled the number of voters for the first three days. Whereas, the number of Republican voters has increased by just under 50% (46.3%).

Are there more Democrats voting in Blount County in 2020 or are they more motivated?

Early Voting Totals
2016

1,237 Total

Dem/Repub
296/941

as compared to

Early Voting Totals
2020

2,009 Total

Dem/Repub
632/1,377

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